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July 28, 2003

Leave the Country, Lose Your Songs?

I haven’t yet succumbed to the allure of the iTunes Music Store.

While nice in theory, I’ve been wondering how their DRM works in the “real world.” Sean Yeager recently posted a note to the effect that, having moved to Canada, iTunes refused to reauthorize the music he had purchased while living in the US. It appears that this was merely a glitch in the iTMS server software (compounded by misinformation from Apple Customer Support), rather than a deliberate restriction. But it’s just another reminder that you don’t really “own” the music you just purchased.

This kind of nonsense is why I held off for years from buying a DVD player. When I finally did buy one, I made sure it could be rendered Region-Free and that MacroVision could be disabled.

Posted by distler at July 28, 2003 12:38 PM

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Re: Leave the Country, Lose Your Songs?

Unfortunately, it seems the only way to be safe is to burn iTunes tracks in normal audio CD format, which is allowed by iTunes, and then to re-rip them to an unrestricted format.

There is of course some transcoding loss, but it seems Apple left us a loophole to use if we didn’t like the DRM, and wanted something better than using weird sound drivers to intercept audio, or a cable from line out to line in.

Posted by: Stan Seibert on July 28, 2003 4:19 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Leave the Country, Lose Your Songs?

While DRM, even Apple’s Fair Use version can’t hold a candle to the control free .mp3, it still worthwhile to note, that despite his entry title (Leave the Country, Lose Your Music), Mr. Yeager would have suffered the same consequences even in the United States. His actually problem stemmed from a combination of things– moving, changing his credit card address, changing his Apple address, and then restoring his hard drive, which required reauthorization of the music for the hard drive.

While it would have been great to have a glitch free transaction, that’s quite a lot of changes to expect to go off without a hitch. I expect if he had to restore his hard drive and reauthorize his music, but hadn’t changed any of his address, then he probably would have been fine. But such is life.

Posted by: allgood2 on July 28, 2003 4:56 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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